What is Chemotherapy? Chemotherapy Side Effects & Process

Regardless of advances in technology, unfortunately, we are surrounded by cases of life threatening diseases and illnesses. Cancer is one of them. When a tumor develops inside your body, it causes unnatural multiplication of cells causing cancer. Cancer symptoms and types are varied. They depend on the depth of the tumor and the organ affected. The treatment depends on the type of cancer, location, spread to nearby structures or widespread dissemination. Treatment modalities include surgery, chemotherapy or radiation.

What is chemotherapy?

Chemotherapy is a treatment for cancer that uses chemicals of one or more anti -cancer medication to be given as a standardized regimen. Chemotherapy is given with intent to cure or prolong life (palliative chemotherapy).

Is there a difference in the range of what chemo can do?

That is because cancer cases are unique and differ from one another. Depending on the size of the tumor and stage of cancer, chemotherapy helps in one of three ways:

  • Completely eliminating cancer and tumors from your body. It can potentially even prevent cancer symptoms from rising again.
  • Slowing down or controlling the spread of cancerous tumors to other surrounding cells or organs.
  • Trying to prevent discomfort and pain caused by growing tumors.

Chemotherapy Process & Types

While chemo is treatment for cancer symptoms, it is usually done with a combination of surgery, radiation and biological therapy. Type of chemotherapy also depends on patients’ health.

Neo-Adjuvant Chemotherapy: Slows down the growth and cuts down the size of the tumor. This is usually done prior to a radiation therapy.

Adjuvant Chemotherapy: Gets rid of cancer cells after radiation surgery.

Without chemotherapy, the effects of radiation or biological therapy could be reduced. It also helps in slowly down or preventing cancer from recurring. In cases of tumors growing, it keeps it from spreading to other organs in the body.

Chemotherapy Side Effects

Chemotherapy comes with a lot of benefits and relief for cancer patients. However, it is a trying process on your body and has multiple side effects. While it attacks cancer cells, chemotherapy can also hinder the growth of healthy cells. This causes hair fall, appetite loss, nausea and sores. It can also make your body’s immunity drop, making you an easy target for infections. If you or your loved one is planning on undergoing the process, it is important to know the chemotherapy side effects.

For the most part chemotherapy side effects are short term and manageable. During the process, it can be extremely difficult to continue daily activities as it causes extreme fatigue as well. Anemia, gastro intestinal distress, infertility, neuropathy are a few of the severe side effects.

Drop by for consultation and advice from our professionals at Columbia Asia Hospital for further information on chemotherapy. 

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